Bell helicopter has unveiled its new V-247 Vigilant tiltrotor drone for the US Marine Corps.
Like the company’s V-22 Osprey, the Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) V-247 Vigilant can lift off and hover like a helicopter, yet has the range and speed of a fixed-wing aircraft. According to Bell, the UAS can carry out combat reconnaissance missions from land bases without runways or from small ships with flight decks.
According to the company the V-247 is intended to fit the capabilities required by the 2016 Marine Corps Aviation Plan. It has enough endurance for a pair of the aircraft to keep a target under surveillance for 24 hours a day, yet has a small logistical footprint. V-247 combines the strengths of a helicopter and an fixed-wing airplane, and can fold its rotors so fits into the hangar of a US DDG guided missile destroyer. Its open architecture, modular design provides a high degree of flexibility with bays that allow it to carry extra fuel, high-definition sensors, sonar buoys, lidar, radar, and a combination of MK-50 torpedoes, or Hellfire and JAGM missiles.
According to Bell, the single-motor drone has retractable landing gear and can carry payloads of up to 2,000 to 9,000 lb, depending on how they’re stowed. It has a cruising speed of 240 kts (276 mph), a maximum altitude of 25,000 ft, and a range of up to 1,400 nm (1,600 mi) with an endurance of up to 17 hours.